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Bill tightens human trafficking laws

This news post is about 8 years old

A new bill is to tackle human trafficking in Scotland

New legislation to tackle human trafficking means Scotland will have some of the most robust laws of their kind in the world.

Aimed at strengthening existing laws, the human trafficking bill improves the definition of human trafficking offences to help police and prosecutors tackle the problem.

Scotland will end up with some of the most robust and effective anti-trafficking laws in the world - Jenny Marra MSP

A members bill on the issue was proposed by Labour MSP Jenny Marra. This week, the Scottish Government backed her proposal and announced its intention to legislate on the issue before the next Holyrood election in May 2016.

There are currently five people in prison in Scotland convicted of human trafficking. However there was a total of 99 people referred to agencies as potential victims in 2013.

Charity Migrant Help, which runs a refuge for trafficking victims in Scotland, has backed the legislation.

Robert McCrea, chief executive officer of Migrant Help, said the bill will put victims first.

"Victims' support has always been caring and sophisticated," he said.

"Therefore we understand why the Scottish Government would wish to formalise this work by compounding the best practice and experience into a bill proposal."

The government's proposals does not cover all aspects Marra's bill, which included, for example, plans to make it illegal to punish those who have been forced to commit crime as a result of their trafficking.

However Marra welcomed the bill saying: "I am very pleased the government is to bring forward a bill based on the work I have been doing.

"If fully implemented, Scotland will end up with some of the most robust and effective anti-trafficking laws in the world."

Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary, said he was determined to develop legislation that gives police, prosecutors and other agencies the powers to make Scotland a hostile environment for human traffickers.



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